100 Tips #34: How To Hide Applications



In nearly every single Mac application you use, you’ll find the Hide command. It’s a very useful thing to know about.

You’ll find it under the application name in the Menu Bar. Here’s what it looks like in the Finder:


It’s not hard to guess what it does.

A “hidden” application is sent out of sight. It’s still running, and its windows are all still open. You just can’t see them. If you hide iTunes, your music will keep playing, but you won’t see an iTunes window any more.

When you use Hide, all you’re doing it putting things out of sight temporarily. Clicking the Dock icon of a hidden app will bring everything back into view in an instant. You can also Command-Tab back to it if you prefer.

Hidden really means hidden, and this is where it can get confusing. If you’ve already minimized a document to the Dock (as described in our previous tip), and then you hide the application that owns it, the minimized icon will disappear from the Dock. You have to bring that application back to the front, or click on its Dock icon, to make the minimized document icon appear once again. Try opening a couple of TextEdit windows to experiment with this, and you’ll see what I mean. It takes a little getting used to, and can confuse newcomers who swear they minimized something, then wonder where it has vanished to.

Most apps also have an inverse command, called “Hide Others”. The shortcut is usually Command+Option+H. This will hide all the applications except the one you’re using right now.

(You’re reading the 34th post in our series, 100 Essential Mac Tips And Tricks For Windows Switchers. These posts explain to OS X beginners some of the most basic and fundamental concepts of using a Mac. Find out more.)